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Re: Botched Buildings

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There are many factors contributing to these problems but a major one is
managers attempting to compress project schedules based only on man
power requirements. The more people we assign to the project the quicker
it can get done...right?  Only up to a certain point!

I had a collegue remark to me one time that an unrealistic schedule was
like trying to get nine woman pregnant, so that you could have a baby in
a month. It doesn't work that way!

We have to recognize that it takes a minimum amount of time to
coordinate properly between disciplines, fabricators and suppliers.
Many times, it is back and forth until the proper details get worked
out. Adding manpower beyond a certain point won't achieve any faster
results, in fact, it will slow the project down since there now are more
people to coordinate and communicate with.

The amount of time that computers have saved us in design have been
offset by more complex codes and structures.  Coordination still takes
about the same amount of time.

When project managers try to hold engineers to unrealistic schedules,
the result is that the project doesn't get done properly........ not
enough details, too many mistakes, assigning design functions to
contractors, large addedums, many changes in shop drawings, etc.
Everyone suffers the stigma of a bad job.

The problem gets even more complicated with the interaction between
disciplines. If one discipline gets a late start on a project or is
understaffed, it can have a ripple affect on the other disciplines. They
all need to be working on the project at  roughly the same time and at
the same pace. It is like a team of horses working together. Four horses
on one side and two on the other will make the wagon tip over! One horse
cannot be running faster than the others. The team needs to work
together otherwise all team members will suffer.

Engineers are a very competitive group. When an engineer tells a client
that it will take 4 weeks to get the project done and another engineer
says that he can have it done by next Monday, who would you choose? Be
up front with the client and tell him that you want to do a high quality
job for him but it is not possible to accomplish this goal within his
proposed timeframe.  Be prepared to walk away if you cannot do your
normal quality job within that schedule. If someone else wants to do it
and deal with all the problems and potentially get a bad reputation as a
result, let him have it. He won't be around long. Do not compromise on

Jim Kestner, P.E.
Green Bay, Wi.

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